I've been in San Francisco since Saturday participating in the awesome Producers Institute, organized by the Bay Area Video Coalition. The Producers Institute is an intense week bringing together documentary filmmakers, technologists, activists and educators to brainstorm new forms of participatory media for social change. I feel very lucky to be here as a "Mentor" representing Global Kids.
This afternoon, the team producing the "Virtual Mine" game had a meeting in Second Life with Claudia Linden, head of educational support at Linden Lab. From left to right that's SL citizen journalist Draxtor Despres, Claudia Linden of Linden Lab, myself in the miner hat, Ben "Buhbuhcuh" Batstone, Jennifer Gilomen, and Wendy Levy.
The "Virtual Mine" is a 3D immersive game intended to teach young people about the complex factors involved in the energy industry, from extractive processes to alternative energy sources. The "Virtual Mine" is associated with "Deep Down," an upcoming documentary about the impact of coal mining on one Appalachian community directed by Sally Rubin and Jennifer Gilomen. Creating a game to elucidate some of the central themes of the film is a really neat idea. And Second Life is a great venue for this sort of game, which incorporates film footage, music, animated simulations, and role play.
It was good practice for the team to get to present their project to an informed outsider. And Claudia was very helpful in helping the team to think about where to host the game within Second Life, as well as how to outreach to relevant educational and nonprofit communities interested in virtual worlds.